She might not be a household name, but the statuesque character actress Tamara Tunie sports a resumé as distinctive as she is innately glamorous. Tunie landed her first major role as litigator Jessica Griffin McKechnie Harris on the soap opera As the World Turns in 1986 -- a part she played for 11 years. In the mean time, Tunie signed for a small role in the endearing yet sadly overlooked coming-of-age dramedy Sweet Lorraine (1987), an unsung predecessor to the box-office blockbuster Dirty Dancing, starring Maureen Stapleton and Trini Alvarado. Tunie signed for a bit part in the 1989 period murder mystery Bloodhounds of Broadway, but despite the fact that it claimed a pedigree as impressive as Lorraine (with Matt Dillon, Madonna, Jennifer Grey, and others), the movie unfortunately failed to deliver on its noble intentions.
Over the course of the next several years, Tunie turned up several times on Steven Bochco's NYPD Blue, and landed the bit part of Leslie Christos in the Al Pacino big-city crime drama City Hall (1996), directed by Harold Becker (Taps). She re-teamed with Pacino for the darkly comic supernatural horror film The Devil's Advocate (1997), then worked with Brian De Palma and Nicolas Cage on the 1998 thriller Snake Eyes. Tunie's most high-profile work, however, was yet to come. In 2002, she delivered a compelling performance as Alberta Green in the first season of the series thriller 24. In 1999, the actress resumed her portrayal of Jessica Harris on As the World Turns and continued to sporatically return to the role through the 2000s. Beginning in 2000, Tunie also portrayed Melinda Warner on the popular series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.